On The Eve Of August

Karen Tumulty sizes up the health care debate:

There are signs of a coming backlash. Obama's health-care-reform allies are currently outspending his opponents 2 to 1, says Evan Tracey of the nonpartisan Campaign Media Analysis Group. The actors who starred as a fictitious middle-class couple in the famously devastating "Harry and Louise" spots that helped kill the Clinton health plan in 1994 are now featured in ones that push for overhaul. But the other side is just warming up, so you can expect to see plenty of nightmarish scenarios in TV advertisements featuring legions of government bureaucrats standing between patients and doctors, and long waits for lifesaving treatments. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has already allocated $2 million to fight the idea of a public plan that would compete with private insurers; two liberal groups Health Care for America Now and the National Physicians Alliance have run ads in six states arguing that a public option is essential. "August," says White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, "has both peril and opportunity."